How to make friends and not alienate people in 140 characters

Nick Bird – Account Director at Spreckley

Online PR and social media marketing are great tools that really should be taken advantage of. Twitter in particular creates the opportunity to build a personal rapport with your customers and audience, as well as providing the opportunity to build momentum and publicity for your business. However, in contrast to those positives, organisations also run the high risk of blunders when communicating in 140 characters or less. Famous Twitter blunders of the past have included…

It was meant to be a great campaign for MasterCard, coinciding with the Brits. They’d lined up all sorts of stars for videos, pictures and tweets before and during the ceremony. Except the PR company managed to wind up a journalist at a national newspaper by attempting to tell him what he should tweet in return for accreditation to cover the event. The demands sent by House PR included suggestions for tweets before, during and after the event, all with the hashtag #PricelessSurprises.

After the story broke on Press Gazette, the promoted hashtag was soon the home of much mocking from journalists and the public alike.

Another famous example featured British Gas bizarrely thinking it was a sensible decision to undertake a Twitter Q&A on what people thought of the company, on the very same day they announced an energy price hike of 9.2%. The hashtag #PRFAIL springs to mind!

Traditionally, a lot of companies operating in the corporate space have been cautious in adopting Twitter and therefore are in desperate need of some hand holding when first starting out. In light of this, there are some things, which can be done:

  • Ask yourself some serious questions when you first start out. Are my customers on Twitter? Do I have the time and resources to keep it engaging? Will engaging in the Twitter sphere add value to my business? If you can answer yes to all of these then you can get started.
  • Ensure your profile is engaging including a relevant and accurate bio complete with functioning links – there is nothing more embarrassing than clicking a link and then a message is displayed saying ‘webpage is not available.’
  • Ensure that you are targeting and following the right people. Be prepared to research who the key influencers are in your industry – look at who your customers, competitors and your employees are following, look at what the media are following, and understand how they report their news agenda.

A clearly defined strategy is must if you want to succeed on any social media platform. Hence, it is important that you have a proper and clear Twitter strategy for ensuring success of your business. By devising a plan for sorting the different types of content you want to share among your followers and also building creative updates to engage your followers, you’ll undoubtedly see greater engagement with your page than if you just tweet anything you fancy, whenever you like. Consistently strong and interesting posts, images and links shared to your followers helps in developing trust, and will see you on your way to success.